Track & Field Fastest-Growing and Largest Sport Among High School Athletes

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The country’s clearinghouse of high school sports reports that track & field is the nation’s #1 and fastest-growing high school participatory sport.

Released Wednesday, The National Federation of State High School Associations’ annual High School Athletics Participation Survey reveals that track and field last year logged the biggest increase for both boys and girls. The sport saw 12,501 more boys and 7,243 more girls compete during the 2015-2016 season.

Last school year, 1,077,101 student-athletes participated in track & field, making it the #1 participatory sport for boys and girls. It again reigned as the #1 sport for girls (485,969) and #2 sport for boys (591,133, behind football).

“The high school system is the lifeblood of our early talent-development pipeline in the United States,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “Seeing the popularity of our already great sport continue to grow is exciting for our future. It is fitting that this news has arrived as the athletes at the top of that pipeline prepare to compete at the Rio Olympic Games. They will be inspiring those 1 million-plus athletes, and more.”


Cross country was the third-fastest growing sport for boys, with an additional 6,701 participants. Cross country ranks #6 for boys and #7 for girls in participation.